Summary: Is God merely the means to an end for you? Is God the tool for your happiness? At this point in Jacob’s life, He is. He may be in your life as well. Until you are broken, brought low, brought to the end of yourself.
Encountering God – Part 13 - Is God your God?:
Last week we witnessed Jacobs’ first encounter with God which occurred in a dream. It was the first time he ever had any direct dealing with God. It was a supernatural encounter with God. It resulted in his acknowledging that God existed and had power over his life.
I have a question I want you all to ponder carefully this morning: “When was your first direct, supernatural encounter with God?”
Have you had a supernatural encounter with the Divine?
If not, then what we have is “religion” – a list of do’s and don’ts, and faith in a holy book rooted in believing certain propositions ABOUT God.
If you have not had an “encounter with God” then all you have is “hand me down faith” or “heard about God” faith if it is not rooted in a life-changing, supernatural encounter with God.
That is Jacob’s situation up before the encounter we read about last week.
Jacob had heard about God from his dad Isaac and his grandfather Abraham.
They had told the stories of how God had provided, how God had worked miracles in their lives, they had shared their testimonies and praises of who God is and what He had done.
His faith was second hand, rooted in the experiences and beliefs of others. It was not his own and it was not based in a personal encounter.
That may describe you today.
You have heard about how God has worked miracles in people’s lives.
If fact you may have heard the testimonies of the working of God in the lives of people in this room, and maybe you wonder…Can I know God this way?
Maybe you hear these things and wonder, “where do these folks get off attributing answered prayers to God. God never seems to hear my prayers.”
If so, your faith may be 2nd hand faith or religious teaching. It may not be rooted in the person of God but rather in the testimonies of others.
Then as we learned last week, Jacob, while running for his life, has a supernatural encounter with God in a dream.
He discovered that no matter how far away he ran or how fast, he could not escape the long arm of God. God reached into Jacob’s subconscious world of dreams, and met him where he could not run.
God was seeking a relationship with Jacob, not because Jacob was a goodie two shoes…he was a scoundrel and a liar! God sought Jacob when Jacob wasn’t even interested in God.
God is seeking a relationship with you. You can run but you cannot hide. As we discovered last week, God got into Jacob’s dreams and spoke to him. The encounter was so powerful and vivid, that Jacob’s life was turned right-side up.
Today, God may be calling your name as well. The supernatural nature of that event will be demonstrated by this funny feeling that God is speaking directly to you. You may even feel uncomfortable, as if somehow God knows your very thoughts. Today may be the day you have that supernatural encounter with God. Will you respond to Him today?
Jacob and Uncle Laban:
Let’s pick up our story from last week: Jacob travels to his mother’s brother’s home to find a wife. He sets his sights on a beautiful girl named Rachel and is told by her father (Jacob’s uncle) since he has no money for a dowry, he must work for seven years to earn the right to her. So at the end of seven long years, the wedding night comes. His new bride slips into his tent at night and they consummate their marriage. But the next morning, he awakens to find not Rachel but her older sister Leah. He is insulted and offended and angry, but Uncle Laban holds all the cards. Laban tells Jacob he must work another seven years to get Rachel as his wife. (Talk about love!). Fortunately, he only has to work a week before Rachel is given to him up front for his upcoming additional seven years of labor.
He works a total of 20 years for Uncle Laban. During that time, he asks Laban for a share of the flocks that he has been caring for. Laban agrees to give Jacob the spotted ones (which were considered inferior). But Jacob, now tending two flocks, takes great care at animal husbandry. He purposefully mates the strong ones in his flocks and sees to it that the weak mate in his Uncle’s flock. Ultimately, his herd gets bigger and stronger than his uncle’s who becomes very jealous.
It is about this time that Jacob has his second encounter with God, again in a dream.
Encounter #2: Genesis 31:10- 13 "And it came about at the time when the flock were mating that I lifted up my eyes and saw in a dream, and behold, the male goats which were mating were striped, speckled, and mottled. 11 "Then the angel of God said to me in the dream, `Jacob,’ and I said, `Here I am.’ 12 "He said, `Lift up now your eyes and see that all the male goats which are mating are striped, speckled, and mottled; for I have seen all that Laban has been doing to you. 13 `I am the God of Bethel, where you anointed a pillar, where you made a vow to Me; now arise, leave this land, and return to the land of your birth.”